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Publisher's Summary

Longlisted – Baileys Women’s Prize 2014

Man Booker Prize, Fiction, 2013

Canadian Governor General's Literary Award, 2013.

It is 1866 and Walter Moody has come to make his fortune upon the New Zealand goldfields. On arrival, he stumbles across a tense gathering of 12 local men, who have met in secret to discuss a series of unsolved crimes. A wealthy man has vanished, a whore has tried to end her life, and an enormous fortune has been discovered in the home of a luckless drunk. Moody is soon drawn into the mystery: a network of fates and fortunes that is as complex and exquisitely patterned as the night sky.

The Luminaries is an extraordinary piece of fiction. Written in pitch-perfect historical register, richly evoking a mid-19th-century world of shipping and banking and goldrush boom and bust, it is also a ghost story, and a gripping mystery. It is a thrilling achievement for someone still in her mid-20s, and will confirm for critics and listeners that Catton is one of the brightest stars in the international writing firmament.

Eleanor Catton was born in 1985 in Canada and raised in New Zealand. She completed an MA in Creative Writing at Victoria University in 2007 and won the Adam Prize in Creative Writing for The Rehearsal. She was the recipient of the 2008 Glenn Schaeffer Fellowship to study for a year at the prestigious Iowa Writers' Workshop in the US and went on to hold a position as Adjunct Professor of Creative Writing there, teaching Creative Writing and Popular Culture. Eleanor won a 2010 New Generation Award. She now lives in Wellington, New Zealand.

©2013 Eleanor Catton (P)2013 Audible Ltd

Critic Reviews

"The Luminaries is an impressive novel, captivating, intense and full of surprises.” ( Times Literary Supplement)
“The Luminaries is a breathtakingly ambitious 800-page mystery with a plot as complex and a cast as motley as any 19th-century doorstopper. That Catton's absorbing, hugely elaborate novel is at its heart so simple is a great part of its charm. Catton's playful and increasingly virtuosic denouement arrives at a conclusion that is as beautiful as it is triumphant.” ( Daily Mail)
“It is awesomely - even bewilderingly - intricate. There's an immaculate finish to Catton's prose, which is no mean feat in a novel that lives or dies by its handling of period dialogue. It's more than 800 pages long but the reward for your stamina is a double-dealing world of skullduggery traced in rare complexity. Those Booker judges will have wrists of steel if it makes the shortlist, as it fully deserves.” ( Evening Standard),br />“Eleanor Catton is nothing if not ambitious. Her latest novel, longlisted for this year's Man Booker prize, is an 828-page blockbuster. With astonishing intricacy and patient finesse, Catton brings to life the anomalous nature of 19th-century New Zealand.” ( Sunday Times)
“Expansive and quite superb. Catton writes with real sophistication and intelligence... with intricate plotting and carefully wrought scenes.” ( Scotsman)
“Every sentence of this intriguing tale set on the wild west coast of southern New Zealand during the time of its goldrush is expertly written, every cliffhanger chapter-ending making us beg for the next to begin. The Luminaries has been perfectly constructed as the consummate literary page-turner.” ( Guardian)
“For the scale of her ambition and the beauty of its execution, somebody should give that girl a medal.” (Lucy Daniel, Daily Telegraph)
“a truly exciting new writer” (Kate Atkinson)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Not So Luminous

I usually give in to the award winners, more out of a skeptical curiosity than the belief in some arbitrary group's promise that this will be *the best book I've read since...* I enjoy the mental argument that *they* got it wrong, as much as the agreement that *they* got it right, either way counting on being stirred enough by the read to have the passion for a discussion. In the case of the Luminaries, I get neither satisfaction. The only other short-listed Man Booker I've read this year is Harvest by Jim Crace -- it lost, and was about equally entertaining (as was Transatlantic, from the longlist). The word, I swore I'd never use in a review comes to mind -- meh (less a word than onomatopoeia) such a cop out, but the listen left me exhausted for the reasons I'll explain.

This is not a complaint, or to say I did not like the book. It is captivating and elaborately constructed with a great sense of place and time. The period details are transportive, in the beginning feeling much like a good Dickens pastiche. The characters, as many as there are months of the year, are each an astrological sign, or house, and the characteristics assigned to those distinctions, which she uses to prefix each chapter, as well as explain whom is in whose house, etc. Catton also enjoys some word-play in this complex production of writing and architecture -- writing each chapter with exactly half the words as the preceding chapter. All these pieces of construction are exceptionally ambitious and creative, but can be confusing and mentally labor intensive. (There is no explanation given in the audible version; I came to these realizations after banging my head against the wall for a couple of days, and relentlessly texting Darwin on the matter.)

Catton has definitely written an interesting novel, and written, and written, and belabored the plot until I just lost interest and wanted to move forward to a finish instead of reviewing, again, the events as told by each of the 12 characters involved. I would go into synopsis of the book, but then you'd have to hear the same plot from THIRTEEN points of view, instead of a mere TWELVE. Sophisticated intelligence, beautiful prose, and intricate plotting, become less so when redundant and complicated.

(A big) -- However... a friend tells me this is a book I would absolutely love if I read the book, which contains charts, graphs, and a very important list of characters, all adding clarity and an ease to the read, as well as beautifully tying in the astrological twist. For clarification, I did not like the book as I experienced it audibly, but I did recognize the talent and creativity enough to consider picking up the book and giving it another chance. It's is going to take me a while before I'm ready to tackle all 30 hours of this again. A consideration for those still undecided. Hopefully, a little understanding before going in will be helpful.

123 of 143 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Sometimes you need to have a book read to you

What made the experience of listening to The Luminaries the most enjoyable?

The pacing of this book is such that reading it myself, I found that I was skipping. One of the things I enjoy the most about audio books is being forced to slow down and enjoy the language. Maybe the complex structural devices do not come through in this experience, but the language is enhanced.

Who was your favorite character and why?

The outstanding character was none of the individuals, but rather the environment. Obviously I have no direct experience of gold mining on the West Coast in the 1800s, but I came away with a vivid picture in my mind.

What does Mark Meadows bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Recently I listened to an interview by Orson Scott Card where he stated that some books are made to be read out loud. The Luminaries is one of those books. The range of characters, accents and the language make listening far more enjoyable than reading.Sometimes I read for plot, and sometimes for the rhythm and language, and while the plot is good, it is not the primary value of this book.

43 of 51 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

I almost let the reviews keep me from a good book

I don't buy into trends or hype. I don't want to read a book that everyone loved, because honestly, everyone's tastes aren't the same as mine. I like books that challenge, that awe and astound, that push me to think in a way I haven't before. I won't read a book just because it won an award.

That being said, after reading the synopsis of this book, I decided to read it anyway. It sounded new and different. But I was disheartened by all of the negative reviews. Again, I decided to read it anyway. And I'm glad I did.

The characters are rich and well developed. And although there are a lot of them, it's not difficult to keep them all straight because of their individuality.

Something that everyone is talking about is the astrological formula Ms. Catton used. While I agree that it does sound like a creative writing class prompt, I do not consider that a bad thing. What does it matter how you get there? It only matters that what you have when you get there is something you're proud of, and, hopefully, something that people want to read. I think she has been successful on both counts. To me, the astrological aspect didn't matter a great deal over all. That is to say, it neither added nor subtracted from the story.

I'm happy with the time I spent listening to this book. It allowed me to look at a time and place I generally would have to reason to consider.

29 of 35 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Beth Anne
  • Philadelphia, PA, United States
  • 11-16-13

fantastic novel, perfect narration. 5 STARS!

I LOOOVVVEEED THIS BOOK!!!

how did this novel only take 2 years to write? and how was eleanor catton only 27 years old when it was published??? i feel like the amount of detail about astrology and historical realism in this book would have...should have...taken 10 years to research and work out. never mind the way the the waning of the chapters, following the moon cycles grow progressively longer and then extremely short. the chapter introductions,...growing progressively longer and longer and longer. the astrological star titles given to each character, and astrological house given to each location, all switching prominence and even switching moods as their charts change. the layers of discovery...stories within stories...how each chapter breaks the belief i had in different character's motives and actions.

even WITHOUT the structural complexity of this novel, it's a winner in my eyes. even WITH the structural complexity, it seemed like an easy read, and it didn't seem as long as it is. and i must admit...i think some of the structural complexity was lost to me!!!

the novel offers up theatrical settings with secrets and sex and drugs and mystery. lively characters, even without much depth, tromp in and out of the chapters....tangling a web that you think is going to be unraveled. but keeps getting even more twisted.

so many people have said this book is a 'difficult' read...but i did not find even one page of it difficult. this really is a book that is pure joy to read. PURE JOY.

i am so excited to revisit this novel again and again throughout the rest of my life...to me, it's one of those books i will never ever forget and never ever just leave on the shelf.

21 of 27 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Engrossing story; beautifully narrated

I've had this book sitting on my bedside table for months; I finally broke down and got the audio book. I'm so glad I did. It's completely and totally engrossing--I was glad it was so long just because I was enjoying the story so much! After the Hillary Mantel books, probably my favorite Booker winner in a long time. The narrator is fabulous--he does accents incredibly well and in all but a few cases pronounces the Maori words accurately, which is a rarity. One quibble: Unless the pronunciation was different in the 19th century, Hokitika is pronounced Hoe-ka-tick-a, not Hah-ka-tee-ka; since that town is mentioned many, many, many times, the mispronunciation is a bit grating, but otherwise, his performance really makes the story come alive.

33 of 43 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • E
  • Grapevine, TX, United States
  • 10-20-15

Terrific book, wonderfully woven tales

This is my second listening. The reader does an amazing job with the voices and this complex story unfolds like an origami box.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Amazing!!

Both the writing and the narration perfectly evoke the feeling of a mining town flush with gold, mystery and drama. The circuitous route by which the characters and their back stories are introduced and tied together keeps the interest level high. As more and more details are revealed and your first impressions are challenged and turned on end you will find yourself wanting to reach the end just so that you can re-read this tale again and catch any clues that you missed on your first go-round.

This book has found a permanent home on my bookshelf as I know that I will be re-reading it over and over. I highly recommend it to fans of Historical Fiction, Mystery, and Drama as it has plenty of all three.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Kali
  • Walnut Creek, CA
  • 05-19-14

A dizzying, heady masterpiece.

Listening to The Luminaries is like being dropped in the midst of New Zealand’s Otago Gold Rush, blindfolded and totally without reference, and then being spun round in circles by a stranger and let loose to feel around the landscapes and stand near their inhabitants, prospectors and bankers and Chinese diggers and tattooed Māori streaming around you, the women left to pleasure and care for these teeming throngs of men nearly knocking you over as they rush this way and that, and just as you feel overwhelming lost amidst these endless characters, totally without equilibrium in this many-plotted story centered in a town where everyone wants to make it rich, Eleanor Catton comes and takes you by the shoulder and steadies you for just a moment, and you breathe in the smells of dirty men and sea water as ships wreck upon the beach and scavengers look upon the ships and you sigh and know that despite there being too much information here, maybe just too much life here, for one book to ever express, you must keep reading.

Anyone coming off of a Goldfinch buzz and wondering what their next ambitious, too-long book will be should look no further than The Luminaries. Both books are written with the crisp observations that make them so much more than plot recounted. These are stories of life, magnified. Stories of how life could be if we all drunk in details of each other’s quirks and charms, every insecurity and affect, every ugly part and every beautiful one, and then maximized them into sentence-formed still lives spilling over into paragraphs so illustrative of this human condition we’re stuck in they act like paintings on pages changing ordinary days into phenomenas, ordinary interactions into humorous, tragic, wonderful things worth documenting. This is how these books get to be close to 1,000 pages long–life magnified is a very big thing, indeed.

The Luminaries, as I’ve mentioned, is the story of New Zealand’s Otago Gold Rush, and the story of a plethora of characters drawn together by an unfortunate set of circumstances. Men in all sorts of businesses centered around profiting off of gold or the men who find it feel uneasily bamboozled, they all sense a caper of some sort, and yet trying to pin down who has down wrong when is like trying to sift the gold dust apart from the dirt. The plot is complicated, and meant to be, as that’s the fun and beauty of the thing. Also, this is a book that uses the word “whore” quite a bit. Prepare yourself for that.

Catton includes all sorts of bells and whistles, but she really didn’t need to, as her writing stands on its own. There are astrological signs and charts of each character’s place on the zodiac, and there are chapter lengths that get progressively shorter by half until it seems almost hard to keep up with all the pieces that are being put together. Unfortunately much of this is lost in the audiobook, as it could have included a .pdf with the illustrations from the book for reference. What the audiobook version gained was narrator Mark Meadows deftly juggling the varied accents required amidst the cultural mish-mash of gold rush New Zealand. I appreciate getting lost in layers of meaning as much as the next book nerd, however, and I’ll be picking up a hard copy of the book to read again for further understanding of the whole astrological subtext.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Too clever by half

Destined to join that long and distinguished line of celebrated, and unread, novels?

Eleanor Catton is a fine writer, but seemingly steeped in the school of the nineteenth century masters. Her language and skills of prose are evident, but over the heads of the average reader today (I count myself included).

The 'astrology' theme, and the waning/waxing phases of the moon, in which the plot is structured is clearly beyond my ability - and inclination - to comprehend.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Dina
  • LAKE ZURICH, IL, United States
  • 01-04-14

An Astrological Wonder

I have to say that this book was extraordinarily clever. You would probably have to read it more than once to really appreciate the extent of the acumen that was needed to write it. The ability to combine astrology with a unique place and time (1860's Gold Rush in New Zealand) signals a very talented writer. The swirling of characters as they mirror the night sky made for a great tale, and yet there was something lacking. The attention was placed so much on the "mechanics" of it all that it lacked emotion. And, real attachment to any one character was just not possible. In the end, all the players were just living descriptors of the signs and planets, seemingly lacking any soul...which is why any good astrologer knows that a chart is nothing without the influence of spirit.

16 of 21 people found this review helpful

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  • Avril Sawers
  • 11-02-13

Beautifully written, but slower than a snail

Would you try another book written by Eleanor Catton or narrated by Mark Meadows?

Wonderfully written for the first 4 hours ...... after 8 hours of having barely progressed on the plot line, and going layer by layer over and over the initial two events .... I was rapidly losing interest. And another 12 hours to go. If her next book was more condensed, definitely as she is a remarkable writer. The narration was excellent.

What will your next listen be?

Something a LOT pacier.

What does Mark Meadows bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

Mark Meadows reads with good pace, and manages effectively to capture all of the different global accents of the characters - bar the Mauri who comes over in a South African rather than New Zealand accent.

Could you see The Luminaries being made into a movie or a TV series? Who would the stars be?

Yes definitely film/tv material and would work well conversely being forced to be condensed - something which usually doesn't work from book to film.

31 of 31 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Cerisaye
  • 12-01-13

I tried but failed to like this book

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

I really struggled through this book, mainly because I just didn't care about ANY of its characters and the story wasn't gripping enough to engage my interest as it winds its way painfully slowly from beginning to damp squib ending. I didn't bother trying to understand the astrological aspect, though maybe had I read the novel rather than listened to it I might have got more from that. The chapter headings becoming progressively longer than the shortening chapters was tiresome. The way the story turns back on itself annoyed me, too, because it made me feel I wasn't getting anywhere despite devoting so many hours of my time listening to the book, hearing about the same few events from too many different perspectives. There is no emotional centre and the story ultimately doesn't seem to matter, since it just fizzles out. Seems to me the writer is more concerned with form and being clever, the novel as an intellectual exercise, which makes it shallow and heartless. I formed no attachment to any of the (too) many characters because they are not written as real people but the embodiment of astrological signs. If they adapt the book for the screen, which is inevitable, they should film it like the recent "Anna Karenina", a play on a theatrical stage.

Would you listen to another book narrated by Mark Meadows?

The skill of the reader was all that kept me going to the end. I suspect I would have abandoned the book had I been reading rather than listening. So yes, I would listen to another of his narrations.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

I was disappointed because I had high hopes going in. Normally I love long, meaty novels such as Hilary Mantel's "Wolf Hall" and "Bring up the Bodies", and have previously enjoyed 19th C pastiche such as Charles Palliser's "The Quincunx". I was frustrated that this novel puts form and structure above pace and narrative drive. I was annoyed that the final section (after the conclusion of the trial) adds little or nothing to the story to justify dragging out its length.

Any additional comments?

I did enjoy the period New Zealand setting and background detail about gold mining. Eleanor Catton is young and very talented, I am sure she will develop as a writer and produce something remarkable and enjoyable.

23 of 23 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Faiergreen
  • 11-20-13

Good narration, but I lost the will to carry on.

What disappointed you about The Luminaries?

I have been a audible listener for 8 years and this is only the second book I have decided to not finish. I always buy unabridged books as I like the longer more detailed stories which have time to develop and reflect the authors true intention for the reader in terms of the characters and story line. Having read the reviews I excitably started listening but after a few hours wondered what I had bought. Yes it is descriptive in terms of the characters but often this is overstated and too detailed and detracts the listener from where the story is going. Eventually the feeling of actually getting nowhere in terms of the story line and realising that there probably won't be a breakthrough in terms of the plot has led me to take the decision to stop listening and put this one down to experience.As previously stated, I adore a longer story but really found I had to push myself to keep listening which as I listen for pleasure was not my idea of fun.

Would you ever listen to anything by Eleanor Catton again?

Probably not.

What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

Performance was clear and easy to listen to.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Disappointment and wondering if it was just me who didn't get it?

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Avid reader
  • 12-12-13

Gripping tale with a strong sense of place

Would you listen to The Luminaries again? Why?

I would listen to it again if only to go over some of the details and see how it all hangs together.

What did you like best about this story?

I enjoyed the historical setting and the slow way the story unfolded. Trying to work out the chronological order of events was also an enjoyable challenge.

Which scene did you most enjoy?

I enjoyed the scene where Walter Moody is reading some letters he's found. That's when events started to fall into place.

Any additional comments?

I thought the narration of this book was outstanding - there are lots of different characters and Mark Meadows brought each one to life with different accents and voices.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Barbara
  • 11-10-13

Ideal choice for listening

Where does The Luminaries rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

In length it's number one! I started with the knowledge that this Booker Prize winner is long. People have seen the book & been daunted by its size. Audible is the obvious answer. It's still 29hrs, but life can go on alongside "reading" The Luminaries. Mark Meadows as narrator is excellent. His rendition differentiates the numerous characters to minimise confusion. It's a long and complex story which is well worth persisting with. The chapters start very long until near the end when the pace quickens with very short chapters. The passing of time is handled in an interesting way. Initially it's by the various characters relating their part in the story which centres on the death of an isolated man, the disappearance of another - young and newly successful in the gold rush - and the involvement of a young woman trapped by prostitution and opium. A mysterious fortune in gold and a universally despised sea captain link the characters. We gradually discover events over the past couple of years, whilst moving forward in the present. (19C New Zealand.) Eventually the past meets the present and we find the answer to the mysteries which bind the cast.

What did you like best about this story?

The complexity, the gentle unfolding and the vision of the life of the times.

What does Mark Meadows bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

Clarifies the complexity by differentiating the characters.

23 of 25 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Joseph McHugh
  • 11-03-13

Storytelling at Its Best,Stylish & Elegant

What did you like most about The Luminaries?

The dickensian style of the narative.

What other book might you compare The Luminaries to, and why?

any of the 19th centuary classics

What about Mark Meadows’s performance did you like?

excellent very easy listening

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

a very good mix of characters and a complicated interplay between them.

Any additional comments?

A brilliant acheivement for such a young author. A very good story well told,I would highly recommend this book

19 of 21 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • steven
  • 12-23-13

It was a dark and stormy novel...

Definitely one of the most unusual books I have ever read. Essentially it is a crime story with a lot of historical fiction blended in. I think if one mixed up Thomas Hardy with Arthur Conan-Doyle one would get a similar result.

Set in a burgeoning mining town on the remote west coast of New Zealand's South Island (barely 20 years after the signing of the treaty which incorporated NZ into the British empire) the story revolves around an intriguing sequence of events and a large cast of interesting people.

Every vice is included: murder, robbery, fraud, lies, deceit, racial discrimination, battery and infanticide. There's opium, laudanum and a range of other toxic substances that are abused. There are seances, smoke and mirrors and prostitution to add spice to the lives of the people in the town. And there is love - innocent and fresh, and collusive and destructive.

The central story is complicated and is retold through the eyes of numerous characters. And it is only after it has been retold several times that the reader is able to piece the story together in its entirety. In telling the story Catton paints a comprehensive picture of life in a gold-rush town and of the early pioneers in New Zealand.

The link to astrology and the stellar references are a little obscure. Catton is a very accomplished writer and her research must have been exhaustive. Her characters are well drawn and her plot, although rather complicated, is credible and engaging.

On a dark and stormy night a young lawyer Walter Moody steps into the pub of the hotel where he has found lodgings after disembarking from a ship after a long voyage.

He interrupts a group of people having a private meeting in the bar, and so the mystery begins to unfold.

Even after 848 pages one is sad to see the narrative come to an end. The narrator is very good, juggling about five different accents throughout the novel.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Patrick
  • 11-25-13

A captivating listen

Well plotted, a great tale, amazing weaving of characters, plot meanders and comes back on itself, intriguing, narrator is SO good !

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Sam
  • 11-23-13

Excellent if you suffer from insomnia.

What disappointed you about The Luminaries?

So many characters, and not a single one that I cared about. To be honest, at the end of the book I was thoroughly bored and happy it had finally finished.
It's bad enough on TV when you get told what's going to happen in the next section of the show, but to do that in every chapter of the book was really annoying.
I have no idea why we were told about signs of the zodiac or a co-ordinate at the start of each chapter, it had nothing to do with the story as far as I could tell.

Which character – as performed by Mark Meadows – was your favourite?

The Maori guy (I can't find the spelling of his name anywhere). The accent and way of talking were excellent.

Actually, the performance by Mark Meadows was really good in general, just a bit soporific.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Disappointment and boredom

23 of 27 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Sarah
  • 11-22-13

Doesn't work as an audiobook

What would have made The Luminaries better?

As I say in the title, I don't believe this book works as an audible book. Though very detailed and well written, there isn't enough narrative drive. I persevered until halfway through the first part and have given up listening.

What will your next listen be?

It is The Greenfinch by Donna Tartt - I'm hooked already.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Frustration

Any additional comments?

I shall buy the book and read it as I want to know what happens but can't dedicate 32 hours of my life listening to find out!

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Antonia
  • 02-18-14

Best audiobook in ages

What made the experience of listening to The Luminaries the most enjoyable?

Wonderful story and reader

What did you like best about this story?

Complex and brilliantly wrought

Have you listened to any of Mark Meadows’s other performances? How does this one compare?

I am going to find other ones because he was great

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

Epic story set in a small town

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Libby
  • 07-09-14

Excellence in prose and presentation

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Wow! An excellent narration of an outstanding literary work. I can highly recommend this audio book and I thank Mark Meadows for his brilliant rendition of such an intensely imaginative story, with such a wonderful array of accents, cultures, and genders. 10 out of 10.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Yvonne Colledge
  • 04-09-15

thoroughly enjoyed the story listened to it twice.

thoroughly enjoyed the story. I listened to it twice while working. highly recommend this book.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Emma
  • 07-14-15

Loved it!

There were so many things about this book that I would have normally hated - the era, the gold rushes, too many male characters - but I LOVED this book!!! I was interested the whole way through, the characters were amazing and I loved and hated them intensely and alternately. The setting was made so vivid I felt that I could HEAR the birds, the gunshots, the voices... The magnificent things about this book though was that the author used the changing points of view to play with the passage of time so as to make the reader feel that they are JUST behind the action, JUST on the cusp of discovering the mystery - it kept me gripped from start to finish. The story and characters were an absolute feat of imagination - the twist and turns and the gasps as you realise what is about to happen just as it does. This book is an epic, in the best possible way. I would highly recommend it to anyone - even the readers who, like me, find the premise of it a bit dull on the surface.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Jeremy
  • 04-24-15

A captivating tale, beautifully written

I did enjoy this book. The narrator did a great job bringing it to life. Ms Catton has written a story that lingers in the memory after creating a vivid snap-shot of life on the 19th century New Zealand gold fields. It starts from small beginnings and gradually more and more characters and their stories (and perspectives/involvement) are added. It's really well written book and certainly has a poignancy to it.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Cheryl
  • 02-20-15

Unforgettable

Spellbinding! It will become a movie. The characters live on the page and paint pictures that skilfully invite you in to join them.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Kobi
  • 02-08-15

Without a doubt one of my favourites.

You will either love this book or loathe it. Thankfully I love it and I would have given it more stars had I the option.

The story at times can be hard to follow since there are many interwoven characters each with stories of their own. Sometimes the descriptions are very long winded but so beautifully written. And the timeline of the story does jump forwards and backwards a lot. But if you can survive those aspects of the novel then you will be able to enjoy the wonderful plot that unfolds.

I did find it best with the kindle book since I kept loosing track of who was who and where was what. It is a book that demands attention and the narrator does a fabulous job. I recommend it to those with patience and an appreciation for subtle beauty.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Sharon
  • 11-01-14

A very engaging listen

I found the audiobook interesting and engaging... The story is a bit trivial but the manner in which it is told is excellent... The story is presented through the eyes of the different characters... Sometimes the voice of the narrator pretending to be a female was a bit contrived but overall, I really enjoyed the audiobook.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • wendy
  • 10-08-14

Engaging Story

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • CD
  • 06-13-16

Wordy but clever

A bit drawn out to start then a rush to the finish. Almost gave up on it and a friend advised me to. could have been shorter.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful